“The transition from youth to womanhood is a defining time in the lives of young women. We desire that every young woman successfully make this transition and prepare for her future responsibilities as a faithful woman, wife, and mother, and in her opportunities to serve within the Church.” – President Gordon B. Hinckley, President Thomas S. Monson, and President James E. Faust, First Presidency letter, 19 Mar. 2003.
The following suggestions (in bold) were included in the March 19, 2003, First Presidency letter on transition.
1. Encourage mothers to help their daughters gain an understanding of the value of Relief Society.
Mothers can do much to help with the transition by talking with daughters about their expectations and fears. The transition will also be more successful as mothers and Young Women leaders speak positively about Relief Society.
2. Assign a Relief Society counselor the specific responsibility of working with young adult women until they successfully make the transition into Relief Society.
The assigned counselor could learn about the needs of each young adult woman by visiting with her mother and Young Women leaders. Young Women leaders can help by working closely with the assigned Relief Society counselor. It may also be helpful to call a Relief Society mentor or young adult specialist to assist.
3. Provide new members of the Relief Society with meaningful callings, visiting teaching, and compassionate service assignments.
Young adult women will feel needed and welcomed as they have opportunities to contribute by using the skills they bring, such as team teaching a lesson, sharing musical ability, or using computer skills. This can be further enhanced by assigning young adult women to serve as visiting teaching companions to mature sisters.
4. Have the Young Women and Relief Society sisters meet together occasionally in home, family, and personal enrichment meeting, with planning under the direction both auxiliaries.
Combined enrichment meetings provide opportunities to build friendships between young women and Relief Society sisters while teaching important homemaking and provident living skills.
5. Emphasize provident living, homemaking, and personal application of gospel principles in Mutual activities.
Leaders should plan Mutual activities that teach the young women skills for their future roles and help them look forward to Relief Society. When possible, mothers and other Relief Society sisters could assist in the teaching.
Some more tips
Sister Parkin, Relief Society General President, and Sister Tanner, Young Women General President have some words of advice for Young Women, Relief Society Sisters, and leaders:
To young women, they say, Relief Society is going to be a safe place for you, a place where you can increase your testimony of the Savior and feel His love. Though you may be leaving some friends behind, you are coming into the arms of others who love you. Your circle of friends is simply growing larger.
To Relief Society sisters, they say, step out of your comfort zone and reach out to young women. Sit by them and learn their names. Share your stories with each other. The moment you begin to share, you begin to become sisters.
To leaders, they say, work together and make a plan for each young woman that will bless her life and help her realize her divine potential…
Sister Tanner encourages Young Women leaders to ‘chat with the parents and ask how you can help. Seek out the Relief Society leaders assigned to mentor the young women, and let them know of each young woman’s talents. Be positive in all you do.’…
Leaders in both organizations can work together to plan activities that will build friendships. In one ward, the young women wanted to learn to sew, so they asked the sisters in Relief Society to help. At a Mutual activity night, each young woman was paired up with a Relief Society sister who helped her make a skirt. Later the pairs finished the skirts at home. Then the young women invited the Relief Society sisters to a fashion show where the girls modeled their colorful new skirts.
In another ward, Relief Society sisters sought out the young women as partners in scripture study. They read together and checked up on each other.
In the first instance, the young women reached out to the Relief Society sisters, and in the second, the Relief Society sisters reached out to the young women. In both instances, the friendships continued and blessed the lives of all.
‘It’s “hearts knit together in unity and in love” (Mosiah 18:21),’ says Sister Parkin. ‘You’re never the same when you know someone’s heart. You no longer judge others, because you understand their motives and goodness. (LaRene Porter Gaunt, “Welcome to Relief Society,” Ensign, Aug. 2004, page 15 )
- Transition Ideas – from the clipart section. Includes the short Relief Society Reality Check Skit.
- Sample Transition Lesson – “I gave this lesson during a Relief Society lesson where we invited the Laurels to attend with their Mothers by giving each a special printed invitation. We gave the lesson on the first Sunday in May, just before high school graduation. The goal was to show young women and sisters that Relief Society isn’t about stereotypes — it’s about women who share a love of the Gospel.”
- Mission X Transition Camp Activity
More Resources on Helping Young Women Transition to Relief Society
- Helping Young Women with the Transition into Womanhood – LDS.org has a section with links and resources on helping Young Women with the move to Relief Society.
- Bonnie D. Parkin, “Embracing Sisterhood: Helping Young Women Successfully Transition into Relief Society” – This excellent article has a section with some practical ways to begin helping YW move to RS. Among the suggestions are the following: begin well before age 18 preparing YW for the move, continue fellowshipping after RS attendance begins, RS presidents and YW leaders should coordinate, and encourage mothers to speak of their testimony of Relief Society to their daughters.
- “Your Next Step,” New Era, Aug. 2004, page 10 – This New Era article is written especially for youth saying, “Your next step is from Young Women is into the arms of the Relief Society, where you will learn to become a woman of God through serving Him.”